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Welcome to the Change the Cycle blog! We’ll be here every week, talking all things below-the-belt health – from heavy periods, to fibroids to pelvic health conditions, and more. We hope you’ll follow along to engage, learn and share with your friends and family.

Why Am I So Tired During My Period?

by Dot.
May 23, 2019

Why Am I So Tired During My Period?

Periods tend to bring on a slew of unwanted symptoms, outside of the obviously unwelcomed bleeding. Lower energy levels are one of them, and when paired with cramps, they can really put a damper on your day. Period (or PMS) fatigue can make you want to crawl back into bed, turn on Netflix and reach for your favorite comfort food – but that’s not necessarily the best plan to help you get through it. Let’s talk about why your energy levels tank during your time of the month, and how you can learn to combat fatigue and power through.

What’s the Deal?

During the second half of the menstrual cycle, around the time women start experiencing symptoms of PMS, estrogen levels peak and then fall quickly – causing you to feel tired or sluggish. In the last week (during your period), estrogen levels will continue to fall, carrying this unpleasant feeling through the end of your cycle.1

Other culprits could be iron deficiency related to your period, stress, unhealthy eating habits, or the obvious answer, lack of sleep. The CDC recommends more than 7 hours of sleep each night2 – so if you’re getting less than that, more sleep might be the key to a more manageable time of the month.

What Can I Do?

Hormonal birth control helps to regulate these hormones, and while your hormones will still rise and fall, the symptoms may be less noticeable.1 Talk to your doctor before taking a hormonal therapy.

Your first instinct for dealing with period fatigue may be to close your eyes again, but that might only make the situation worse. Physical activity can actually increase your energy levels and boost your mood. Try taking on a new workout with a friend to help keep your energy up, or keep track of your physical activity in a fitness journal. Also, we know sluggishness and cramps can make you crave those salty and sweet treats – but be sure to eat nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water during your period. Dehydration is a common contributor to low energy levels, so make sure you are tracking your water intake.

During your period especially, try to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. If you generally have trouble falling asleep, put your phone down an hour before bed and opt for a book instead to help you fall asleep faster!

What if it’s Not That Easy?

Extreme fatigue, pain, or heavy bleeding during your period that causes you to stay home and skip out on daily activities could indicate something more serious. If you’re experiencing extremely low energy levels in addition to other symptoms, like heavy or prolonged bleeding, there may be an underlying condition causing these symptoms. Talk to an OBGYN in your area about symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding and potential treatment options.

 

 

References

  1. Physical activity and your menstrual cycle. Office on Women’s Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/getting-active/physical-activity-menstrual-cycle.
  2. “How Much Sleep Do I Need?” Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html.
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heavy periods
hormones
menorrhagia
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PMS
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